HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) — Former Huntsville Superintendent and Alabama School Board member Dr. Mary Jane Caylor has passed away. According to her family, she died peacefully on Nov. 11, 2023, surrounded by family. She was 81 years old.

Caylor was a dedicated, lifelong educator and native Huntsvillian, who served her community in several positions. She lived by the motto, “I would rather wear out than rust out.” Often making history, Caylor was also the second woman to be a Huntsville police detective.

She served as the first female superintendent of Huntsville City Schools from 1985 to 1991. She was awarded Superintendent of the Year by the Alabama Council of PTAs in 1990, and Alabama Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators in 1991.

During her tenure, Caylor represented Madison, Limestone, Jackson, DeKalb and Etowah counties for four consecutive terms as a member of the Alabama State Board of Education from 1995 until 2011.

She worked to establish magnet schools and improvements to school security.

In 2005, Caylor helped celebrate Huntsville as the executive director of the Huntsville Bicentennial Commission. During her time with the commission, the Bicentennial Children’s Park was built.

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She later served as executive director for Big Springs Partners, where she oversaw the revitalization of Downtown Huntsville and the Madison County Veterans Memorial.

Caylor ran for Huntsville City Council in 2018. During that campaign, she highlighted her years of experience and service while looking to improve residents’ quality of life and workforce development.

Dr. Mary Jane Caylor was a tour de force in her work as an educator, business advocate and community leader. Forward thinking, strong-willed and effective, Dr. Caylor was never afraid to take a stand to support what she believed was right. Her compassion and dedication to our community will be missed. Our hearts go out to her family as we remember this remarkable woman and tireless advocate.

Mayor Tommy Battle

Visitation for Caylor will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, November 16, 2023, at The Episcopal Church of the Nativity, followed by the service at 1 p.m. The Reverend Dr. Viginia Monroe will officiate the service.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Vanderbilt University Gift & Donor Services, Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, 3322 West End Avenue, Suite 900, Nashville, TN 37203-1197 in loving memory of her late husband, John Will Caylor.

You can read Dr. Caylor’s full obituary here.